The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

Two THS Teachers’ Favorite Recipes

James Strange

Tenafly High School is known to have the best teachers and staff from all over Bergen County. However, they are not only good at teaching, but are also amazing at cooking and creating amazing dishes. Mr. Whitehead and Mr. Nyfenger, two of the teachers at THS, have flavorful dishes that stem from their memories. Exploring these culinary treasures, you could also try cooking these recipes! 

Mr. Whitehead’s Casarecce with Sausage and Fennel is a delectable recipe that perfectly combines the richness of Italian sausage with the delicate flavor of fennel. This mouthwatering dish was inspired by his memorable dining experience at De Novo, a renowned local restaurant in Montclair. After savoring a version of this dish at the restaurant, he was compelled to recreate it himself. The two ingredients that are the most important in this dish are fennel pollen and sausage. “I bought the fennel pollen on Amazon and already had some fennel seeds because I use them to make tea,” Whitehead said. “Then, I get my sausage from a place called Old World Market up in Nyack.” Along with this amazing Casarecce with Sausage and Fennel dish, he also loves eating mushrooms. “My favorite mushroom is Porcini,” Whitehead said. “My second favorite is Hen-of-the-Woods, also called Maitake in Japanese. I eat those pretty much every day.” According to UCLA Health, mushrooms are filled with Vitamin D and Vitamin B6 which both assist your body with cell growth and forming red blood cells to prevent infections. 

Recipe for Mr. Whitehead’s Casarecce with Sausage and Fennel:


3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped fennel

3/4 cups chopped onion

4 links hot Italian sausages, casings removed

1 clove minced garlic

1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds, powdered in a blender

1 teaspoon Kosher salt 

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 cups casarecce

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Few pinches of fennel pollen


Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta per package directions. Meanwhile, sauté the sausage in a large skillet until crispy and browned, then remove from the skillet and place in a bowl. Add olive oil to the pan (don’t clean to retain the flavor) and sauté onion and chopped fennel for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Pour in the wine, bring to a boil, and cook off the wine for a minute or two. Turn off the heat and stir in the heavy cream. Stir in the cooked sausage, powdered fennel seeds, salt, pepper, fennel pollen, parsley, and parmesan. Add the cooked and drained pasta, stir, and serve. Top with additional parmesan as desired.


Mr. Nyfenger is Tenafly High School’s proud AP Psychology teacher ,who loves teaching about human minds. He has an amazing meatball recipe that he’d like to share! Meatballs are a classic dish that can make anyone hunger at just the sight of them. Below is his famous recipe.


Recipe for Mr. Nyfenger’s Meatballs:


1 lb 85-15 ground beef

1 lb hot Italian sausage

1 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 eggs

1/2 cup whole milk

1 block low moisture mozzarella 

1 bushel of fresh parsley

Salt and pepper



In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, fresh parsley, and salt with pepper. Then, in a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk, Italian sausage, some cheese, and ground beef. The key is to thoroughly mix the two meats and then stuff the meatballs with the mozzarella. Heat up the stove and first bake the meatballs before putting them in a tomato sauce pot. “You then brown the meatballs to keep the cheese firmly in the center before slow cooking in a pot of sauce for several hours,” Mr. Nyfenger said. “They are delicious, they actually make it hard to leave room for other dishes sometimes!”

Going into Tenafly High School’s esteemed educators, the flavors of the dishes are woven into by Mr. Whitehead’s Casarecce with Sausage and Fennel and Mr. Nyfenger’s Meatballs unveil the love for cooking. These dishes represent who these teachers are as a person and what their passions are. We suggest you try making these amazing dishes!

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About the Contributors
David Shin
David Shin, Senior Staff Writer
David Shin ('25) is a Senior Staff Writer for The Echo. He is looking forward to covering stories of any genre that might pique the interest of students at Tenafly High School.
Seihyun (Shawn) Lee
Seihyun (Shawn) Lee, Guest Writer
Seihyun (Shawn) Lee ('25) is excited to be a guest writer for The Echo. He enjoys sharing his stories and listening to others' stories. He also enjoys coding, so he made a social media site called Atrable, where people can share their stories through audios and videos. He seems to be quite proud of it.